|A native of Southern California, mezzo-soprano Janis Eckhart has achieved international renown as a preeminent interpreter of the dramatic Italian and German repertoires. In addition to her vocal prowess, Ms. Eckhart is equally acclaimed for a masterly acting ability that informs her interpretations. The versatile mezzo has sung with companies throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Upon her graduation from UCLA, Ms. Eckhart performed leading roles
in both opera and musical theater in the Los Angeles area. She then
moved to New York, where one of her earliest engagements was with
the Manhattan Savoyards singing Gilbert and Sullivan's mezzo-soprano
roles both in NYC and on tour throughout New England and the Midwest.
A seminal event of Ms. Eckhart's career occurred when she was chosen
to sing the title role in Carmen
in New York; a subsequent European audition tour yielded guest contracts
for Carmen in Germany, as well as featured
roles in Boris Godounov, Orpheus
in der Unterwelt, Die Fledermaus,
Die Lustige Witwe, and as Lola in the
German premiere of Damn' Yankeesall
sung in German.
By the time Beverly Sills hired her for a number of leading roles with New York City Opera, the young mezzo had developed a formidable and diverse repertoire in opera, operetta and musical theatre. Productions at NYCO included Carmen, Cavalleria Rusticana, Nabucco, Rigoletto, Die Zauberflöte, The Rake's Progress, Don Quichotte, Rasputin, Kismet, Naughty Marietta, The Merry Widow, The Song of Norway and The Student Prince.
Ms. Eckhart also sang Carmen throughout the United States during this period. The Greater Miami Opera, Seattle Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Connecticut Opera, Opera Carolina, Los Angeles Music Center, the Orange County Center for the Performing Arts, Wolf Trap, Artpark, Tampa, and the Saratoga Arts Festival are only a sampling of regional highlights from an extensive and far-reaching list of engagements. Other regional performances in the U.S. include Azucena in Il Trovatore, Amneris in Aïda, Maddalena in Rigoletto and Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera. Ms. Eckhart was delighted to make a guest appearance as Amneris in Di Capo Opera Theater's Verdi Celebration.
It was also during this period that Ms. Eckhart began what has
become virtually a second career as a soloist for gala concert evenings.
Janis Eckhart Sings the Magic in Music
offers selections from virtuoso arias to musical comedy classics.
To view a sample program go here. She
has performed in operatic concerts the world over: New York, Los
Angeles, Geneva, Munich, Mexico City, Acapulco, Jamaica, Panama,
Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Bali, Borneo, Jakarta, Seoul,
Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Dubai, Oman, and Amman, Jordan among other venues
in the Mid- and Far East.
After her tenure with New York City Opera, Ms. Eckhart lived in Europe for several years, performing internationally with opera houses in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Monaco, Egypt, Asia and the Mideast. Some memorable highlights include Carmen in Madrid, Lisbon, Seville and Cairo (where she returned to sing Amneris the following year), Dalila in Samson et Dalila with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of the Philippines in Manila, and Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana in Hong Kong. She also sang Maddalena to Alfredo Kraus' Duke with L'Opéra de Monte Carlo, Fricka in Die Walküre at the Teatro Lìrico di Cagliari, Nicklausse in Les Contes d'Hoffmann at the Opera Metropolitana in Caracas, and Fenena and Maddalena at the Opera Lìrica de Puerto Rico.
Ms. Eckhart has performed extensively in concert with orchestras in the Munich area, most often singing Verdi's Messa di Requiem, Handel's Messiah, and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Her concert experience also includes Bach's Mass in B Minor with the Atlanta Symphony, Missa Solemnis with the New Jersey Symphony, and Verdi's Requiem with the New York City Choral Society. She has sung Mahler's Kindertotenlieder with the Maracaibo Symphony in Venezuela and Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen with the Knoxville Symphony. Ms. Eckhart was honored to sing at the Millennium Gala Concert of the Nations as mezzo soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at Avery Fisher Hall with the Symphonicum Orchestra. Subsequent performances with the orchestra, led by Maestro Piero Gamba, include the Ninth Symphony at Teatro Colòn in Buenos Aires and in Santiago, Chile.
Ms. Eckhart graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from U.C.L.A. at
the age of 20. Honored by Musical America magazine as a "Young
Artist of 1985," she is the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships,
among them the Frank Sinatra Classical Music Award, a Sullivan Foundation/NIMT
grant, and the Pavarotti International Voice Competition.